Oct. 20, 2008
TUCSON – Arizona running back Keola Antolin has been named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week, the league office announced on Monday.
Antolin was inserted to provide a spark to the Arizona offense last Saturday, which was struggling in the first quarter following a fumble by starter Nic Grigbsy and an interception by quarterback Willie Tuitama led to an early Cal lead, 7-0.
Arizona was able to tie the game up at 7-7 behind the legs of Antolin as he racked up a season-high 39 yards on five carries to begin the second quarter, capping off the drive with a 20-yard touchdown run – the second of his career. Later in the period, Antolin punched in another touchdown run, this time from 11-yards out as the Wildcats claimed their first lead of the game.
Even so, Arizona trailed 24-14 at the half, but would not abandon Antolin and the running game. A diminutive back – listed at 5-8, 180-pounds – Antolin surged ahead for 11 yards on Arizona’s first play of the second half. The Wildcats opened the half with a four-play scoring drive, which cut the Cal lead to 24-21. The Bears extended their lead to 27-21 later in the third quarter, and that’s when UA went back to Antolin to change the momentum of the game once again.
Faced with a 2nd-and-10 at its own 38-yard line, Arizona gave the ball to Antolin who utilized some dominating blocks at the point of attack to find a hole and scoot 59-yards to the Cal 3-yard line – the longest run from scrimmage for the UA offense in 2008. Two plays later, Antolin was rewarded for his efforts, plunging in from the 2-yard line for his third touchdown of the game – matching a team high for rushing touchdowns in a game in 2008.
When all was said and done, UA dispatched the No. 25 Cal Bears by a score of 42-27, thanks to 18 points from Antolin on his three TD carries. He finished with a game-high 237 all-purpose yards (149 rushing, 9 receiving, 79 on kick returns) – nearly matching his five-game season total prior to the game of 248.
Antolin earned his second Pac-10 honor of the season after being named the Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week following the Toledo game. Mike Thomas (special teams) and Corey Hall (defense) were named Pac-10 Players of the Week following UA’s 31-10 win at UCLA in September.